Wellington's Paramount Theatre picture palace to close after 100th anniversary

The Paramount will close at the end of September.
FAIRFAX NZ

The Paramount will close at the end of September.

Wellington's oldest cinema – The Paramount on Courtenay Place – will celebrate its centenary before it closes its doors.

Cinema Paramount (CPL) director Janet Carson said the theatre would close in September.

"After 100 years we're gutted to be the ones closing the door ... it's hard," Carson said. 

The Paramount Theatre - built in 1917 - in 1923. Photo: Alexander Turnbull Library Ref: PA6-017
ALEXANDER TURNBULL LIBRARY

The Paramount Theatre - built in 1917 - in 1923. Photo: Alexander Turnbull Library Ref: PA6-017

Carson said the business had not been kicked out and the current lease that expires in May had been extended to September by negotiation with the landlord.

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"We just couldn't come to an agreement on a lease that would keep our business viable. We could not reach terms that were acceptable to both parties for a renewal."

Carson said the theatre would keep its commitments to current festivals – including July's International Film Festival – and hirers until September.

"We were keen to continue on in business at this site, the theatre is iconic and it has always been our dream to see it continue. We have owned the Paramount for 15 years," she said. 

Until the doors shut it would be "business as usual, with our eclectic selection of movies and events continuing".

"On behalf of the other CPL shareholders ... we are proud to have kept the Paramount going as a lively venue for the best of cinema – as well as other events and live gigs – since we took over in 2002. It has not always been easy, but it has been a solid business and we have loved every minute of it." 

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Carson said details of  the send-off and 100 year celebration would be released soon. 

In June the theatre, in the heart of the capital's party zone, was granted resource consent for development of a four-star serviced hotel accommodating up to 46 guests, which is valid for five years.

Property manager Alan Blundell said the idea for a boutique hotel at the site had been a "plan b" and there were no concrete plans for the site's future.

Primed for redevelopment the property, which also features ground floor retail space, was for sale last year, but Blundell said November's Kaikoura quake disrupted its marketing.

The owner would be looking for alternative uses for the building once The Paramount had vacated.  

 - Stuff

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